Awen #13: The Final Rite

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I’ve wanted to sit awhile with the ripples from the final piece of the Cauldron Born ritual before blogging about it. And honestly, I’m not going to say all that much as I think most folks will get more out of doing it for themselves than reading about my experience on the internet.

I will say this: Awen did not descend on me in a blinding flash as I sucked the burning drops from my thumb. In fact, I was afraid I had performed the ritual incorrectly. Instead, pieces have been slowly knitting together, seams vanishing and scars strengthening. I’m now certain that I received a gift from the cauldron, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be: wholeness.

Since I first wandered out of the forests of eclectic Neo-Paganism, witchcraft and magick took a back seat to the Serious Study of Druidry.  I had quite the case of “Druids don’t do that” syndrome.  My first exposure to Druidry was through ADF, which at the time very much frowned on magickal work (at least this was the case in my interactions with the local grove and email list–magick was considered impious); devotion at the expense of magick was further reinforced by my forays into Heathenry/Asatru.

As some of you have noted, I’ve been posting more about kitchen witchery lately.  Those little spells and charms have always been a part of my practice, but it’s something that I felt I couldn’t publicly acknowledge since I was a Druid not a witch or Wiccan.  More than one scholar has established a (false) dichotomy between Druidry and more outwardly magickal traditions like Wicca. I had ended up internalizing that polarity, buying into the false assumption that if I did magick and if I were a Druid, then that necessitated some sort of dual trad practice.  I knew I was a Druid, but what was that missing piece?

As it turns out, nothing.

Walking with Cerridwen for the past year, meeting her challenges…it’s given me renewed confidence to forge my own path as a Druid who also practices spaecraft, hedgecraft, the cunning arts. OBOD leaves room for just about anything you’d want to do, and it remains my home, a cozy hearth in a woodland glade. As it turns out, there also happens to be a root cellar and a bone pit in the back yard. I just hadn’t built them yet.

Now another set of spirits joins the Order’s guardians, beings whom I call upon when it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get dirty. Spirits of my land: the turkey, the toad, the coyote, the skunk, the blue jay. Spirits of garden and hedge: datura, tobacco, mugwort, comfrey, agrimony, mullein, lavender.  Spirits of the deep wood: hawthorn, oak, white pine, paper birch, beech, chestnut, maple, hemlock, sassafrass.  The Twelve Winds of Eire. Sometimes the kitchen smell of lavender scones and lemon verbena tea; sometimes it smells of decaying flesh and newly macerated bones. This is my path, in darkness and in light, crepuscular to the core.

Cerridwen gifted me with wholeness. My robes, though those of a Druid, have never been brilliant, shining white. They’re just too hard to keep clean.

Brown doesn’t show the dirt. Doesn’t scare the deer either.